As far as I’m concerned, there are two holidays each year that are specific to Austin/Central Texas. The first holiday of the year is this Saturday, Eeyore’s 42nd Annual Birthday Party, at Pease Park. Most long-time Austinites are aware of this holiday. Here’s a little history from the Eeyore’s website:
Eeyore’s Birthday Party was established by University of Texas students in 1963. In 1974 the event moved to Pease Park and in 1979 came under the leadership of the non-profit group, University of Texas YMCA. In 1999, The University of Texas YMCA changed their name to the Friends of the Forest Foundation. The event caters to all Austinites, young and old, and offers the only fundraising opportunity for many non-profit groups each year.
The non-profits host the food and drink booths around the park and proceeds go to their respective causes. Past participants have included Safe Place, AnimalKind Foundation and Hospice Austin among others.
You really have to attend it to appreciate the oddness of it all. I think I first attended as a UT student in the early 90′s and have returned most years since, now indoctrinating my kids in the fun. There’s a costume contest for adults and kids in the early hours, followed by an egg toss and a sack race. There’s also face painting and other kid friendly activities. For the college students and adults, there’s plenty of beer and the perennial favorite, the drum circle, where genuine and ersatz hippies pound themselves into a rhythm-induced frenzy. Of all the local annual festivals, I think this is the most quintessentially Austin of the bunch. Even the beer has a local flavor with Real Ale and St. Arnold’s being frequent suppliers.
Eeyore’s signals the beginning of summer for me as the weather is almost always warm. This year is no exception with the forecast predicting a high of 87. The rain out date is always the following Saturday. Check the website for updated information. We generally camp out somewhere near the basketball courts under the trees to the east of the path, so come by and say hello. I’ll have my camera with me and will post a re-cap on Sunday.